Cancel the third debate.

Yes, cancel it. Two was enough. Maybe two was two too many. We don’t need a third. We know who the candidates are and if we don’t, that’s on us.

Let Hillary Clinton buy a half hour of prime time and explain her policies to the American people in a forum where we could actually hear them without interruption—where instead of refuting Donald Trump’s talking points and becoming the pincushion for her husband’s failings, she could expand upon her vision for the country. If we’re interested.

If we’re not—if we want bloodshed, mayhem, and escapism—well isn’t that we got cable in the first place?

Now should Clinton’s opponent choose to do the same and then uses that air time for personal attacks, that would be his prerogative and really no different from what he has done in the formalized debates—except this time it would not be free publicity.

So cancel the third debate. I’m far from the first to suggest this.

Bill Moyers in Moyers and Company:

Thanks mainly to Trump, but also to his enablers, politics for this year is wrecked. Yes, I want Hillary Clinton to trounce him. Yes, I think she’ll be a good president. But spare me, please, any further need for her to “hit a home run” to provide us insights into his smarmy soul. As a savvy political observer, I know how to avoid his slimy speeches; as a devoted New Yorker I can easily cross the street to evade his shiny buildings. But sit through another one-on-one with the same old garbage? No thanks. Really, there just isn’t enough hand sanitizer in the world.

George Ugeux, an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School:

There is no chance that the next debate will be anything related to the substance. It will, however, be a gladiator fight…. The Federal Election Commission, if it has any decency, must cancel the next debate.

From the Daily Kos:

You cannot debate a pathological liar. The rules of the contest assume a certain level grasp of reality that are no longer present on the Republican side.

From an unlikely source:

Trump’s exact words today were “I have no respect for that group (the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates) by the way, I’m done.”

Remember—pathological liar. He’s probably not done.

The  decision on actual cancellation rests with UNLV, the site of the third meeting. So far the university does not seem to have spoken on the matter. Besides, there will undoubtedly be external pressure to hold the debate as scheduled. After all, let’s not forget Les Moonves, the CBS executive who last February called the campaign a “circus” full of “bomb throwing,” and hoped it would continue. (It has done so, with ever-more incendiary bombs.) And after Trump proposed a ban on Muslims, it was Moonves who said of the presidential race: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” Dollars before sense, Les. You make us proud, you and Trump both.

Above all, every time we offer someone like Donald Trump a forum, we legitimize him and cheapen his opponent. I’ve had enough: I choose not to watch the third debate (I’m sure I’ll waver), but I would prefer not to make the choice at all. If the Commission on Presidential Debates has any sense, if it has been paying attention to its own creation, and if it possesses even a modicum of courage and—as much as I hate to fall back on this—patriotism, it will remove that choice from all of us.

But if the counterargument holds—that we can’t blithely abrogate the First Amendment—then so be it. It will give me a chance to utilize my First Amendment rights not to watch.

(Something called “Worst Cooks in America” is on the Food Network at the same time. Just sayin’.)

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